This week I was inspired by a box of local produce. Inspiring, but *almost* overwhelming. I’m sure you never do this. My stockpile of vegetables and fruits is more than my fridge’s produce bins can bear, there is full of pears on the table, the buffet is also holding multiple platters of avocados, bananas, plantians, and apples. Not to mention the bags of onions, potatoes and grapefruit squirreled away into the pantry. Something had to be done. I needed to do some cooking. The greens needed to be the first things to go. As much as I love them, they are space hogs. The take up lots of room fresh, and then cook down to tiny size in the skillet. They seem like dinner shinky-dinks to me. And in an effort to get the fridge to a manageable level, and because of the shinky-dink factor, I decided I was cooking with not one, but two bunches of the green stuff.
I created this pasta out of necessity. We needed dinner and I needed to tame the household produce levels. This + a mess of roasted white root vegetables with lemon did the trick. We loved this dish. It came together quickly and deliciously. Gnocchi is my favorite for speedy meals. I confess to buying this in vacuum- sealed packages. I often see traditional white, but whole wheat is equally light and worth seeking out. The sausage is not essential, it was nice and really married nicely with all the greens, adding a lot of flavor even though I only used a very small amount. The dried fruit may seem odd, but I love it. This is not the first recipe pasta I’ve posted with fruit. The sweetness is unexpected and really creates a nice balance of the savory greens and sausage against the nuttiness of the sunflower seeds (or walnuts) and the lightness of the gnocchi and salty creaminess of the crumbled Mexican cheese. I can’t wait to make this one again. And I’ll have to if I want another taste, because someone else beat me to the leftovers.
And hallelujah, the fridge can close once more.
Gnocchi with Double Greens, Dried Cherries and Sausage
1 bunch of kale, chopped
1 bunch of chard, chopped
1/4 lb. of chorizo or chipotle spiced sausage, casing removed if necessary
16 oz. whole wheat potato gnocchi
1/3 cup dried cherries (golden raisins are also nice here)
1/3 cup walnuts or sunflower seeds
3 T. + 1 T. olive oil
3 T. cider vinegar
2 T. + 1/2 t. sea salt
1/2 t. freshly milled pepper
1 t. fresh oregano (1/2 t. dried)
1/3 cup of crumbled queso fresco
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the nuts or seeds and toast in the dry skillet until browned and fragrant, shaking frequently. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add 1 T. olive oil to the skillet, then add the sausage. When sausage is cooked through and beginning to brown, add the greens and saute until wilted and tender (5-7 minutes), adding 1/2 t. sea salt during cooking.
While cooking nuts and greens, heat a pot of water to boil. Add 2 T. salt to cooking water and add gnocchi.
While gnocchi are cooking, whisk remaining oil, vinegar, pepper, and oregano together in a serving bowl.
Cook gnocchi until they float to the surface, and are finished cooking. Skim off the top and add to the serving bowl. Add sauteed greens and sausage to the bowl. Toss all together and finish with toasted walnuts or sunflower seeds and queso fresco.